Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food Chemistry - Enhancing Learning

Jeff Lerouge is a fellow colleague at my school, one damn good foods teacher, and another teacher who is challenging the idea of using worksheets to teach material.    His twitter is is here @jlerouge, his blog is found here Jeff's blog.

Before, he used to teach different ideas through worksheets, and here is how he is educating students now:  GOOD JOB!

Jeff start with:

What's the big idea? Why did we do this? Did you learn something today?

We've been learning about the pigments found in vegetables and how other ingredients can affect the color of vegetables. We have also been learning about how those same ingredients can have an impact on the texture of vegetables. To gain a better understanding about what we've been talking about, we decided we needed to experiment with the actual pigments and ingredients. What we've really done is do a science experiment and made some observations that helps us make conclusions.

We started with four different vegetables that represent the four colors of pigments found in fruits and vegetables:
  • carrots (orange)
  • cauliflower (white)
  • broccoli (green)
  • red cabbage (red/blue)
We then subjected each vegetable to four "treatments" against a control (boiled in plain water):
  • salt
  • baking soda (alkali)
  • lemon juice (acid)
  • sugar
After the experiment we came to some conclusions which supported what we learned in theory. It helped so see, touch, taste and smell - enhanced understanding. Here's what we learned:
  • the orange pigments in carrots are very stable and are not greatly affected by acid or alkali
  • adding sugar made our vegetables firm
  • adding acid made the cauliflower stay white and kept the cabbage purple - good result
  • adding acid turned the broccoli and unappealing olive green color - bad result
  • baking soda made all of the vegetables mushy - bad result
  • baking soda turned the red cabbage an unnatural blue green color - bad result
  • baking soda turned the cauliflower an unappealing yellow color
On the same day, we also learned about different kinds of rice not by reading about them, but by cooking 10 different varieties and tasting them all. We cooked a number of whole grain rices, something many students who usually eat minute rice or white rice were not used to, especially the different in texture. Students learned that this difference in texture is from the bran layer being present on the grains.

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